LGBT adoption is the adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This may be in the form of a joint adoption by a same-sex couple, adoption by one partner of a same-sex couple of the other's biological child (step-child adoption) and adoption by a single LGBT person. Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 26 countries and in some sub-national territories. Furthermore, 5 countries have legalized some form of step-child adoption. Opponents of LGBT adoption question whether same-sex couples have the ability to be adequate parents (see LGBT parenting) while other opponents question whether natural law implies that children of adoption possess a natural right to be raised by heterosexual parents. Since constitutions and statutes usually fail to address the adoption rights of LGBT persons, judicial decisions often determine whether they can serve as parents either individually or as couples.
Main article: LGBT parenting
The existing body of research on outcomes for children with LGBT parents includes limited studies that consider the specific case of adoption. Moreover, where studies do mention adoption they often fail to distinguish between outcomes for unrelated children versus those in their original family or step-families, causing research on the more general case of LGBT parenting to be used to counter the claims of LGBT-adoption opponents. One study has addressed the question directly, evaluating the outcomes of adoptees less than 3-years old who had been placed in one of 56 lesbian and gay households since infancy. Despite the small sample, and the fact that the children have yet to become aware of their adoption status or the dynamics of gender development, the study found no significant associations between parental sexual orientation and child adjustment.
Adoption of children by LGBT people is an issue of active debate. In the United States, for example, legislation to stop the practice has been introduced in many jurisdictions; such efforts have largely been defeated. Prior to 1973, state courts commonly barred gay and lesbian individuals from holding a parenting role, especially through adoption.
There is agreement between the debating parties, however, that the welfare of children alone should dictate policy. Supporters of LGBT adoption suggest that many children are in need of homes and claim that since parenting ability is unrelated to sexual orientation, the law should allow them to adopt children. Opponents, on the other hand, suggest that the alleged greater prevalence of depression, drug use, promiscuity and suicide among homosexuals (and alleged greater prevalence of domestic violence) might affect children or that the absence of male and female role models during a child's development could cause maladjustment.Catholic Answers, a Catholic religious group, in its 2004 report on gay marriage addressed parenting by homosexual partners via adoption or artificial insemination. It pointed to studies finding higher than average abuse rates among heterosexual stepparent families compared with same-sex parents. The American Psychological Association notes that an ongoing longitudinal study found that none of the lesbian mothers had abused their children. It states that fears of a heightened risk of sexual abuse by gay parents are not supported by research.
Several professional organizations have made statements in defense of adoption by same-sex couples. The American Psychological Association has supported adoption by same-sex couples, citing social prejudice as harming the psychological health of lesbians and gays while noting there is no evidence that their parenting causes harm. The American Medical Association has issued a similar position supporting second parent adoption by same-sex partner, stating that lack of formal recognition can cause health-care disparities for children of same-sex parents.
Britain's last Catholic adoption society announced that it would stop finding homes for children if forced by legislation to place children with same-sex couples. The Muslim Council of Britain also sided with Catholic adoption agencies on this issue. Catholic Charities of Boston also ended its founding mission of adoption work rather than comply with state laws conflicting with its religious practices.
Proponents of adoption by gay parents usually cite the following arguments:
- The right of a child to have a family, guardians or people who can take care of their wellbeing
- Human rights – child's and parent's right to have a family life
- There are little or no differences between children raised by same-sex or straight couples. For that reason, sexual orientation of the parents has no relevance when it comes to raising a child
- Evidence confirming that despite those opposed to LGBT+ parenting, same-sex couples can provide good conditions to raise a child
- For the children, adoption is a better alternative to orphanage
- Less formalities for step-parents in everyday life, as well as the situation of a death of a biological parent of a child
- In some countries single same-sex people can adopt, therefore banning LGBT parenting (especially adoption) is artificial
Opponents of adoption by LGBT people usually cite the following arguments:
- Same-sex couples would make children develop defined unwanted traits
- Same-sex parents lack parental competence
- Cases of parental abuse
- Religious reasons
- Violations of a child's rights
A 2006 poll by the Pew Research Center found a close divide on gay adoption among the United States public, while a 2007 poll by CNN and Opinion Research Corp. said 57% of respondents felt gays should have the right to adopt and 40% said they should not. In the United Kingdom in 2007, 64% of people said they thought gay couples should be allowed to adopt and 32% said they should not. 55% of respondents thought that male couples should be able to adopt and 59% of people thought that lesbian couples should be able to adopt. In Brazil, a 2010 poll asked, "Do you support or oppose allowing gay couples to adopt children?" The poll found that 51% opposed adoption by same-sex couples and 39% supported it. An opinion poll conducted in late 2006 at the request of the European Commission indicated that Polish public opinion was generally opposed to both same-sex marriage and to adoption by gay couples. The Eurobarometer 66 poll found that 74% of Poles were opposed to same-sex marriage and 89% opposed adoption by same-sex couples.
As of January 2018[update], there are national debates on LGBT parenthood in the following countries:
Full joint adoption by same-sex couples is currently legal in 26 countries:
Full joint adoption by same-sex couples is currently legal in the following subnational jurisdictions:
The following countries permit step-child adoption in which the partner in a relationship can adopt the natural and the adopted child of his or her partner:
Since 2014 in Croatia, a similar institution called partner-guardianship exists. It allows a life partner who is not a biological parent of their partner's child or children to gain parental responsibilities on a temporary or permanent basis.
South Africa is the only African country to allow joint adoption by same-sex couples. The 2002 decision of the Constitutional Court in the case of Du Toit v Minister of Welfare and Population Development amended the Child Care Act, 1983 to allow both joint adoption and stepparent adoption by "permanent same-sex life partners". The Child Care Act has since been replaced by the Children's Act, 2005, which allows joint adoption by "partners in a permanent domestic life-partnership", whether same- or opposite-sex, and stepparent adoption by a person who is the "permanent domestic life-partner" of the child's current parent.Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2006, and is equivalent to opposite-sex marriage for all purposes, including adoption.
In Chile, same-sex couples are allowed to apply to adopt a child. If applicants are approved as suitable to adopt, legally only one of them would be the legal parent of the child. A 2017 survey, shows that 45% of Chileans support same sex adoption, whilst 50% are opposed.
On 4 November 2015, in a 6-2 Constitutional Court ruling, Colombia decided to allow adoption by LGBT peoples. The ruling came before same-sex marriage became legal in the country on April 28, 2016.
In Mexico City, the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District passed legislation on 21 December 2009 enabling same-sex couples to adopt children. Eight days later, Head of Government ("Mayor") Marcelo Ebrard signed the bill into law, which officially took effect on 4 March 2010.
On 24 November 2011, the Coahuila Supreme Court struck down the state's law barring same-sex couples from adopting, urging the state's legislature to amend the adoption law as soon as possible. On 12 February 2014, the state's congress overwhelmingly approved the measure more than two years following the supreme court decision.
On 3 February 2017 the SCJN emitted tesis 08/2017 in which it is stated that the family of the LGBT community doesn't end with a couple, but that it also extends onto the right to have and raise children. Therefore LGBT couples wishing to form a family and adopt children will be legally protected and can't be limited by any governmental entity.
Main article: LGBT adoption in the United States
A government-sponspored adoption law in Uruguay allowing LGBT adoption was approved by the lower house on 28 August 2009, and by the Senate on 9 September 2009. In October 2009, the law was signed by President and took effect. According to Equipos Mori Poll's, 53% of Uruguayans are opposed to same sex adoption against 39% that support it. Interconsult's Poll made in 2008 says that 49% are opposed to same sex adoption against 35% that support it.
LGBT rights for adoption of children in Asia are almost inexistent, except in Israel. Some Asian countries still criminalise same-sex activities, do not have anti-discrimination laws, which are an obstacle from legislating for LGBT adoption.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(August 2017)
A January 2005 ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court allowed stepchild adoptions for same-sex couples. Israel previously allowed limited co-guardianship rights for non-biological parents. In February 2008, a court in Israel ruled that same-sex couples were now permitted to adopt a child regardless of whether the child is biologically related or not to either parent. This marked a watershed in granting equal rights to all gay people in Israel.
Main article: LGBT adoption in Europe
In February 2006, France's Court of Cassation ruled that both partners in a same-sex relationship can have parental rights over one partner's biological child. The result came from a case where a woman tried to give parental rights of her two daughters to her partner, with whom she was in a civil union. In the case of adoption, however, in February 2007, the same court ruled against a lesbian couple where one partner tried to adopt the child of the other partner. The court stated that the woman's partner cannot be recognized unless the mother withdrew her own parental rights. On 17 May 2013, French President François Hollande signed into law the bill that opened marriage and adoption rights linked to it for same sex couples.
In 1998, a nursery school teacher from Lons-le-Saunier, living as a couple with another woman, had applied for an authorization to adopt a child from the département (local government) of Jura. The adoption board recommended against the authorization because the child would lack a paternal reference, and thus the president of the département ruled against the authorization. The case was appealed before the administrative courts and ended before the Council of State, acting as supreme administrative court, which ruled against the woman. The European Court of Human Rights concluded that these actions and this ruling were a violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights taken in conjunction with Article 8.
On 2 June 2006, the Icelandic Parliament unanimously passed a proposal accepting adoption, parenting and assisted insemination treatment for same-sex couples on the same basis as heterosexual couples. The law went into effect on 27 June 2006.
In Bulgaria, according to the Ministry of Justice the laws regarding adoption "lack a norm, concerning the sexual orientation of the individuals". Therefore, a single gay person or same-sex couples may adopt.
Joint adoption allowed
Second-parent adoption allowed1
No laws allowing adoption by same-sex couples1. In Switzerland step-child adoption law went into effect on 1/1/2018.
Joint adoption legal
No laws allowing adoption by same-sex couples
Gay adoption legal
Stepparent adoption legal
Gay adoption illegal
Gay adoption legal
Joint adoption legal
Stepparent adoption legal1
No laws allowing adoption by same-sex couples1In Switzerland step-child adoption law went into effect on 1/1/2018.
Although gay couples’ legal right to marry has been settled, their right to adopt has not been. While there are no barriers to gay adoption in several states, other jurisdictions put up various legal obstacles. Mississippi and Utah present the most severe barrier; in both states adoptions by homosexuals are illegal.
The arguments against same sex couple adoptions fall into two categories: such adoptions are wrong as a matter of principle and they are wrong because they aren’t good for children.
The principle opposition to gay adoption is that children are entitled to their biological parents who are of the opposite sex. This argument claims that since children are conceived by a man and a woman, children are therefore entitled to a mother and father. This position rules out both single parent adoptions and adoptions by same sex couples.
A strict adherence to this principle becomes incoherent. Should a single mother be forced to marry, for example? Should divorce be ruled out since the child will be separated from at least one of the parents? Should a pregnant woman who decides that she is incapable of raising a child be barred from placing her child up for adoption? There have always been mothers who have chosen to put their babies in the care of others. It would be cruel to both parent and baby to insist that parents must raise their offspring under all circumstances.
Most everyone agrees that everything else being equal, children should remain in their natal family. But things are seldom equal. Parents die or may be abusive, they may disappear or go to prison, they may have a psychiatric disorder so severe they cannot even taken care of themselves. So children will be adopted. If the standard is the best interest of the child, what family configuration is most likely to lead to a healthy child?
Opponents of same sex adoption present stories of adults who were raised in adoptive homes who say they were harmed because they had only one sex as their role model. No doubt some of these individuals are rightfully aggrieved, but the question is whether the harm they felt was worse than that experienced by other adoptees. There the evidence is scant.
For many, if not most, being adopted creates psychological tensions that are absent in those who were raised by their biological parents. But the major groups concerned with children’s health do no oppose gay adoptions because evidence points decisively that being raised by same sex couples is not detrimental to a child’s well being. (The assertion that organizations such a the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Medical Association and the National Association of Social Workers are either intimidated by or are in the thralls of the “gay agenda” is spurious.)
Incidentally, the arguments raised against gay couples adopting are the same as those presented against trans-racial adoptions. Neither the principled or practical arguments against such adoptions have withstood the test of time.
Children may suffer in families for many reasons but being raised by a gay individual or couple is not, in and of itself, one of them. Being adopted is for some so traumatic that nothing can compensate for the loss of the biological connection. Generally, though, love, care, stability, nurturance and respect are enough for a successful upbringing, regardless of whether it is provided by those biological connected, heterosexual or homosexual couples or single parents.
Prospective adoptive parents should be judged on the likelihood that they will provide a loving home for the child. This is the primary consideration, not someone’s sexual orientation.
Adoptions should be guided by what is best for the child—the empirical consideration of whether the home is loving and stable. These are the necessary and sufficient qualifications.